College Construction Plans Moving Forward

Updates for 2016 on- and off-campus projects

January 21, 2016

An artist's rendering of the athletic fields.

A rendering of the Davis Athletic Complex includes the new soccer/lacrosse facility (background) and revamped softball and baseball fields (foreground).

A brick building with white columns.

This fall, Munger Place will become a special living-and-learning community for up to 55 students, who will debate and test ideas in dedicated groups.

A brick building under construction.

Renovation work is under way at 101 N. Superior St., located in the heart of downtown Albion.

By Chuck Carlson

Both subtle and dramatic, change is coming to Albion College in the form of several new construction and renovation projects.

In particular, the renovation of Munger Place into a new student “living and learning” community as well as reimagined and revamped outdoor athletic facilities to be collectively called the Davis Athletic Complex are planned to be ready by the time students return to campus for the fall semester. Shortly afterward, a new riding arena will be completed for the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center.

Two additional projects—the renovation of the corner building at 101 N. Superior St. in downtown Albion and construction of a new 72-room boutique hotel on a plot of land downtown—won’t be far behind.

Meanwhile, a $400,000 gym floor replacement in the Dow Recreation and Wellness Center was completed in mid-January and plans are being formulated for significant HVAC work to be done inside Stockwell Library.

“It’s very exciting to see some of these things come to fruition,” said Jerry White, vice president for finance and administration.

Work on Munger Place, thanks to a significant six-figure gift from Gary Noble, ’57, and his wife, Peggy Noble, is likely the next closest to completion.

White said that building, located at 300 E. Michigan Ave. and which at one time served as a hotel and then a College residence hall before closing two years ago due to the need for system upgrades, is in the final stages of the bid process. Most of the necessary work involves what White calls “systems upgrades and light renovations,” including replacing smoke and fire alarms and sprinkler systems and paint.

He said Munger should reopen in August, when it will host groups of as many as 10 students from diverse majors who will collaborate and test ideas in a living-and-learning setting.

The same timeline is true for the Davis Athletic Complex, which is in the final stages of accepting construction bids for work that will commence immediately following the last event of the spring athletics season.

The soccer/lacrosse field will be fitted with artificial turf, while the softball and baseball fields will be repositioned with new dugouts, bleacher seating, press boxes and permanent fences. A new multipurpose field will also be built to accommodate multisport practices and track and field events. The complex is being named in honor of longtime Albion residents Bud and Olivia Davis.

A quarter-mile south of the athletic facilities, bids are being reviewed for the new equestrian riding arena, which White hopes will be the centerpiece of a new, larger facility. College officials would like to see the Held Center become a stop on regional horse show circuits. Future plans include new stables, paddocks and outdoor show rings.

Construction is set for May and should be complete by September, White said.

Off campus, work is under way on the renovation of 101 N. Superior, owned by a real estate enterprise headed by Saginaw doctor Sam Shaheen, ’88.

According to Associate Provost John Woell, when finished this fall it will be the home for a career-and-internship program as well as additional tenants to be determined. It will also feature classrooms. He said it will be a resource for the community as a downtown accelerator and a hands-on learning and collaboration environment for students and community members.

“The goal is for the building to be a hub to tie the campus and community together,” Woell said.

The timetable is more fluid when it comes to other projects such as Stockwell and the downtown hotel, which is scheduled to break ground this spring.

The hotel, also being developed by Shaheen’s firm, has a primary aim to contribute toward the revitalization of downtown and provide a place for parents, guests and visitors to stay during College events.